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Grateful Dead Live at Thelma Theater on 1969-12-12

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Grateful Dead Live at Thelma Theater on 1969-12-12

Topics Live concert

Cold Rain & Snow, Me & My Uncle, Easy Wind, Cumberland Blues, Black Peter, Next Time You See Me, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Turn On Your Love Light, Hard To Handle, Casey Jones, Mama Tried-> High Time, Dire Wolf, Good Lovin'-> Drums-> Good Lovin'-> I'm A King Bee, Uncle John's Band, He Was A Friend Of Mine, Alligator-> Drums-> Alligator-> Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)-> We Bid You Good Night

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Thelma Theater
Location Los Angeles, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage MSR > R > D > CD, plus MSR > R > C > D
Taped by
Transferred by Dave Greenberg, Jack Warner, Scott Clugston, Jim Powell, Jay Gerland


Copies from the soundboard reels of these shows have circulated since the '70s, sometimes mislabled "Kaleidoscope Theater, LA," often with dates and sequences mixed up, usually in badly degraded sound quality. This set assembles complete copies of the 11th and the 12th in the best quality circulating. Except for the middle portion of the 11th, sound is excellent throughout; this inferior segment is listenable while leaving definite room for improvement if an upgrade shows up; we haven't been able to find one & don't want to delay further.

Many people gave help on the way to creating this set of CDs. Dave Greenberg did the final masters. Jack Warner was instrumental in providing the difficult composite for the 2nd disc of 12/11/69, which was first mastered by Scott Clugston. RB, KW, JN and HB also provided important assistance. Jim Powell instigated the project and writes these notes. SHN conversion by Jay Gerland.


Reviewer: njpg - - May 7, 2015
Subject: -
Reviewer: reviewr - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 29, 2015
Subject: One Of The Best From '69
Not the best show ever, but Uncle John to the end is outstanding!
Garcia duets with Pig on Next Time. Interesting Lovelight. Good King Bee.
Nice intro to Working Man's Dead songs.
Pigpen vs. Americana.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 18, 2014
Subject: --
This show was in dire need of patches and a general miracle - Dave provided it with the latest release. THAT'S how you compete with the LAMA - take old, flawed favourites and show the vault has a few tricks up its sleeve. It sounds absolutely beautiful, and those songs in need of fixing (particularly that Black Peter) sound gorgeous.
Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 11, 2014
Subject: Workingman's inception
super mellow performance after two that were less so, but you've got Alligator>Caution thank you very much
Reviewer: Zatharas - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 12, 2013
Subject: Love the Mellow
It is so nice to hear this mellow side of '69!
There are so many super high energy shows of '69, this is a nice change if you're in the mood.
One can always listen to another date for high energy.
I find it surprising when people pick on any sound quality issues....where's your tape if you have better? Upload it, if not enjoy this. We certainly are and thank all those involved for their efforts!
Reviewer: mikemet - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2012
Subject: china-rider
China_>Rider I love this duo- its really good. It becomes so much more in 72 and 74 eventually but this is really great stuff here

Black Peter Beautiful...beautiful...Jerry hits Black Peters last verse better in this version than any other.

Whole show is powerful stuff. So glad I just cant stop listening.
Reviewer: DaneBramage - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 12, 2011
Subject: Early Workingman's Dead
This is a classic show! The band still jamming Alligator/Caution while playing the very early versions of Workingman's Dead tunes. Any Easy Wind is great to me, but this one stands out! Epic Pigpen on Lovelight also. You must check it out!
Reviewer: rpetigura - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 4, 2011
Subject: I bid you goodnight jam
I can't stop listening to that tune. Jerry really makes his guitar sing so sweet and so sad on that one. Grateful Dead truly are out of this world.
Reviewer: JustAFloatingSage - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 24, 2009
Subject: Yeppers!!!
Note to self:

Dude...this is one clear recording ... dude .... this is one awesome show

don't forget this show ... it will never fail to pick your spirits up ...

oh yea .. don't forget to love yourself today when you read this note you wrote to yourself ...

this is like me saying hi to me ... but i'll be older when i reread this....

Reviewer: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 30, 2009
Subject: electric blue
uncle johns band is purely pychedelic in 69
Reviewer: tomatoman66 - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 8, 2009
Subject: What's the big deal?
Well, if you like the slower, more methodical, 'mellower' dead, this is great. Especially considering this is from '69 and the dead were capable of incredibly energetic perfornances, this seems a bit too mellow for me. If you like those slow versions of friend of the devil, or they love each other, you may like this show. Somewhat lackluster to me. I must admit to not listening to the whole show, but i just wasn't into it so much.

For a somewhat energetically opposite show, check out the Monterey show from 6/14/69. It's like hyperderive compared to this one. I'm not a slow groove Dead lover.

We all have our speed, and that's what made the Dead great, that they could appeal to so many tastes- that they could perform a Dark Star i like/love (10/25/69). And if you like a slower, yet super funky/amazingly clean hard to handle, check out the next night's winterland show, 10/26/69. That's a great slower version to me cause it's got lots of great funky jamming/licks to fill the spaces that otherwise would be too much and boring. Pink Floyd can do the slow thing, but the Dead need to rock.

A 3 to me
Reviewer: orangejulius - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 4, 2008
Subject: Amazing show. Best Lovelight ever?
This show is just fantastic and doesn't get the praise that it deserves. It beats the pants off most of the shows from earlier in the year. I just listened to all 3 shows at the Ark from April and I think this show is better overall.

Some highlights not previously mentioned:
1. Black Peter. Nice electric version with good background accompaniment (bass, percussion, & organ). Nice to compare with the gorgeous acoustic versions that would pop up a couple months later.
2. The best Lovelight I've ever heard. At least the best one I've heard in a long time. I'll have to revisit some of the other classic Lovelights. Regardless, this is a fantastic version.
3. Sound quality/mix: From Next Time onward, this sounds splendid, an excellent mix. You can really hear everything. Perhaps the vocals are too high in the mix, but better than too low. The first part of the show doesn't really sound that bad. It's decent.
4. Tom Constanten. Wow. It's amazing how much this often unsung hero contributed.
Reviewer: oh_uh_um_ah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 14, 2008
Subject: first 5 tracks are muffled the rest are fine after that
The first five tracks are poor quality recordings. The sound is somewhat muffled. The rest of the show is recorded remarkably well. Good clean mix & sound.

This is the GRATEFUL DEAD I thought would last for decades. It didn't. People left, others died.
I always wondered what these guys would have become if they stayed together and lived. I am sure they wonder too.

"Next Time You See Me" is a duet by Garica and Pigpen. It's in the pocket and slower than more later versions.

This is a five star show, and a four star recording because of the first 5 tracks.

...out of the river all ugly and green, biggest ol' alligator I've ever seen...

"Allgator" through "We Bid You Good Night" is exceptional.

Eat, drink, be merry and listen to the GRATEFUL DEAD.

Thanks for the love.
Reviewer: Chris Freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 24, 2007
Subject: Lay down my dear brothers...
Oh my , oh my, This is such a hot show. I could go song by song through this show but all I want to convey is if you are really into the Dead for the music this night has to be a five. If this night is not a five than nothing should be a five.

I have so much more ground to cover in this archive (God willing) but I am telling you right now I will put this show against any of the bigger name SF or NY shows of the period.

Let me just give you the highlights from my first listen
1)EASY WIND- The Jam is very long and extended but in no way rushed.
2)Black Peter- Jerry 's vocals pristine
3)Next Time- 'Ghost of Pig' pointed out that Pig and Jerry duet this version. I have not heard an equal.
4) LOVELIGHT- In the first set and a wonderful version, Pig lays down some real on the spot poetry towards the finale.
5)WOW!The Whole Second Set-Wow!
It gets almost impossible to isolate. Hard driving Rock & Roll, Acoustic ballads, Pig on Harmonica for King Bee, An Uncle Johns with Jerry just moaning his way into Friend of Mine and then a forever Alligator which features Phil and Jerry in extended wrap around jams. Oh yeah, the organ is pretty sweet. The Caution jam is the work of a band that has just shifted into overgear so just hang on and DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS!
This is PHD dissertation music here or at the very least "we can get a bottle of tequila"-GOODNIGHT!
Reviewer: catzunderstarz - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 12, 2006
Subject: wassup with the sound?
great playing, i just dont like the sound quality. I (like other reviewers here), taped this off the Dead Hour many many moons ago, and that was a FAR supior recording. It was UJB through the end of show. Besides Live Dead, that was prob my only other turn on to 69, i was in high school. Man i loved it. Loved it more when i downloaded it, but i just dont like this, pisser, anyways, theres got to be a better source ....ppppppppppllleeeaaaasssee???!!!!
cause this show smokes!!!!!
5 for show
3 for sound
ill give it 3 cause theres no 3 1/2
Reviewer: skuzzlebutt - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2006
Subject: Not the best night...
This show definitely has its moments musically, especially the Caution jam at the end. However, the vocals in this show are horrendous in spots- too high in the mix, way out of key, and just generally bad. I know most of us don't pay much attention to the band's singing but there are a couple of parts here where it's kind of hard to miss. I was playing it for a couple of fairly neutral friends one night (that is, they can take the Dead or leave them) when the aforementioned "He Was A Friend of Mine" came on; one of them actually started laughing, looked at me, and said "Come on, man, even you've got to admit that's pretty awful." Again, by no means am I dismissing the whole show. More seasoned heads will enjoy moments like the loose, early workout of "Uncle John's" and some of the jamming. However, the rough spots here can be a real test, so consider yourself warned. If you're new to the Dead or just casting about for a representitive sample of 1969, I'd have to advise looking elsewhere.
Reviewer: eyezoftheworld - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 7, 2005
Subject: make a tequila run
YES! finally i found this show! WOO HOO! i am a young deadhead or dead head or guy who listens to the dead... however you put it... not a seasoned veteran. either way.... this was seriously one of my first shows. i dont know where i got it, but i figured i might as well start early. enough about me... this show rocks... hard. jerry's voice isnt as high and sweet as someone mentioned he may have been sick... the rain and snow isnt as fast as earlier in the year. WHO CARES! THIS SHOW ROCKS! the sound is not bad at all... it was the sixties and the sound still kicks. oops, i forgot to add... LOOK AT THE SETLIST. ok, now that youve looked... look how many songs they played. cmon, this cant be real. the only thing the setlist is missing is the other one suite. AND they have some very nice banter... i like b4 easy wind. D/L this one.
Reviewer: Dgold at AHT - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 8, 2005
Subject: Listening to every He Was A Friend Of Mine
I was specifically seeking one song, Archive's dozen versions of He Was A Friend Of Mine, leading me to compare several shows from '66 to '70. This one segues out of an early jammed "Uncle John's Band" > "He Was A Friend Of Mine" (3 minutes, mid-pace). It's fairly good, clearly lots of energy there, but the singing is a bit ragged even for this song. They mention 'heat' at one point in the banter, not sure if it's a December heater or a cop that's bugging. Huge show, many highlights and a setlist full of everything; but the voices don't sound as good as some other shows. Partly performance-wise, party recording-wise. This recording has some hiss (more at first), it sounds okay and by the middle of the show it sounds good. Other "Friend of Mine's" I've heard are better.
Reviewer: SweetPea_Humbee - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 2, 2005
Subject: damn good show if you can hack it
indeed all the below reviews are dead on,... i couldnt take the sound of Jerry's voice in this show, sounds pretty bad, he musta been realy sick this golden night,.. HOWEVER!! theres some reeealy good music here, none the less
Reviewer: joobie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 30, 2005
Subject: one word:
CAUTION. here it is, bar none, the hottest caution rave-up you will ever hear. the rest of the show is smokin' too, but they really nailed it this night.
Reviewer: miracleseeker - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 18, 2005
Subject: Bid You Goodnight Jam
Of course its a "Bid You Goodnight" jam. They play it at the end of GDTRFB, but its still a "Bid You Goodnight" jam. It occurs quite often (especially earlier shows). It appears in "Alligator" and "NFA" sometimes as an example.
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 8, 2005
Subject: Back end of this is a whopper
There are some problems in the front end with sound quality and the like however the music shines all the way through - great great show.
Reviewer: Joe Shlobotnick - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2005
Subject: sweet show, but...
that's not a "Bid You Goodnight Jam".

C'mon folks, that's obviously the typical ending of GDTRFB that you are used to hearing on tapes from the early seventies.

Really nice sound on this... this is my next DL.
Reviewer: phleshy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 28, 2004
Subject: Hot shit.
The first two discs are standard '69 Dead (with an unfortunate cut in the Good Lovin' jam), but Disc 3 is SHHAAAMOKIN!!! Kicking off with the 2nd ever Uncle John's, Disc 3 is essential '69 Dead. Everything on this disc is killer vintage Dead (with the exception of Friend of Mine, which has some horrible off-key singing). The sound quality is also remarkably clear for '69.
Reviewer: njordan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 31, 2004
Subject: Good Ole Gans
Me too - the Dead Hour version was one of my first tapes. As I remember there was a jolting station ID break just as they were starting the Bid You Goodnite Jam. Considering its age, "this recording is remarkably clear and intimate sounding." Or something like that.

Fantastic show, by the way
Reviewer: DeadDave - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 12, 2004
Subject: Intense beauty
The Caution-Feedback-We bid you goodnight is just smokin'. You can hear the people in the front gasping.

Very nice vocals this eveneing

Jerry's vocal intro to "Bid you goodnight" is chilling "Laaayyyeeee down..."

Maybe the best "He was a friend of mine"

Pig is in rare (not) form this night

First 5 tracks are poor quality but you can here everything

3 hour show!!!
Reviewer: CIRESTodd - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 8, 2004
Subject: Woo hoo!
This is one of my all time favorite shows. If you haven't heard it, make sure to grab this classic Dead. I have been upgrading my copy of this show continuously over the years, and this copy is the best and **most complete** copy I've found. The quality of the first 4 songs is not the best, but I had never come across a copy of them before. Thanks for putting this great show together finally!

Here's some cover-art for this show:
Reviewer: Brother Luck - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2004
Subject: Vintage DEAD
This show sounds great and is top notch Pigpen! Only 2 weeks after I was
Reviewer: Peacefuljon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2004
Subject: Amazing
Disc 3 is My All time pick, UJB into He was a friend Then a classic Alligator >Phil; smokes. A beautiful instrumental we bid U. Caution sick stuff. This will blow any Heads Dead... First time I heard this show was on Dead hour. I've been searching for this show for years. This is the Same Quality sound as What David Gans played...
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